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In recent issues of the magazine, we have asked readers to write in and tell us the oldest age at which they personally know of a woman getting pregnant naturally, and whether she delivered a healthy baby.

The reason for this request is that we often get calls at CCL Headquarters from women in their forties who either fear or desire a pregnancy at this point in their lives.

We received information on a total of 29 pregnancies, all ending in the births of healthy babies.

Here’s the breakdown:
Mom’s Age          Births
   41                    1
   42                    2
   43                    4
   44                    2
   45                    2
   46                    6
   47                    5
   48                    1
   49                    1
   50                    1
   53                    1
   54                    2
   56                    1


Addressing couples who are facing a pregnancy during pre-menopause, the 4th Edition of The Art of NFP notes on page 455:

“To be sure, you would probably have the well-publicized fears of bearing a child with Down’s Syndrome. The pessimist sees an increased risk in the more mature years; the optimist sees a 98% chance of having a fully normal child. The famed geneticist Jerome Lejeune questioned the established risk categories, noting that the often repeated statement that ‘older women have a greater chance of bearing a mongoloid child’ may not be correct. Furthermore, ‘upwards of 80% of Down’s babies will occur to younger mothers’ [under 35].

"As Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke put it:
At a maternal age of 30, 99.9% of babies do not have it;
at a maternal age of 36, 99.6% of babies do not have it;
at a maternal age of 40, 99.1% of babies do not have it.

"On the other side of the coin, there’s a greater chance that your pre-menopausal child will be a high achiever, and with your experience from other children, you may be wiser and better parents."

[CCL Family Foundations, May-June1999]